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Admission/funding chances at terminal MA programs


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I am strongly considering pursuing a Master’s in English, but will only attend full-time if I can secure full or nearly-full funding. I am looking at several programs in the Boston area, all of which claim to fund at least some of their terminal MA students. I am wondering if those familiar with the following programs could give me a sense of both my chances of admission and my chances of securing funding:

- BU

- BC

- Brandeis

- Northeastern

My credentials:

- B.A. in English (2010), magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from top 20 LAC

- GPA: 3.8; Major GPA: 3.94 (highest GPA in English earned among majors in my class)

- GRE: 760 Verbal; 530 Quant (eek); 5 AW

- GRE Subject Test: Have yet to take

- 80-page senior thesis examining Henry James’ treatment of Italy in his novels and travel writing

- Research interests: Fin de Siecle literature, particularly depictions of the city/urbanization, the rise of cosmopolitanism, etc.; religion in modern and postmodern literature; nascent interest in literary history/print culture/digital humanities

- I believe I can secure very strong letters of recommendation.

I am interested in pursuing a terminal MA for a number of reasons: my personal desire to continue my study of English at the graduate level, stronger credentials for furthering my current career in higher ed publishing, the opportunity to teach at the high school or community college level, and to help me decide whether I want to pursue a PhD.

On that note, I’m curious: based on the credentials listed, do I have a shot at the top 20 PhD programs? I understand that this may be difficult to assess given the primacy of the SoP, LoRs, and research interests in the admissions process, but I’d be curious to know whether I’m at least in the ballpark. If I have an actual shot, I may consider applying to both terminal MAs and some top PhD programs, as I understand many of the latter prefer to take students straight from the BA.

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There's nothing here that would indicate that you have no shot at top 20 PhD programs but without seeing the quality of your writing, anyone's guess is little more than a shot in the dark since it will be your writing that overwhelmingly determines whether you are accepted or not.

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I may consider applying to both terminal MAs and some top PhD programs, as I understand many of the latter prefer to take students straight from the BA.

I just posted some thoughts on this exact issue in another discussion, "Choosing whether to apply for M.A. or Ph.D. programs" (or something similar). I actually started that discussion myself, and I think there's been numerous helpful responses so far that you'd probably benefit from reading given this new, very similar discussion you've begun.

Edited by ThePoorHangedFool
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I actually did read that discussion prior to posting here and found it quite helpful. I started this thread in hopes of getting a better sense of the Boston MA programs specifically -- especially their funding packages.

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